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A New Look at Weak State Conditions and Genocide Risk

Listed author(s):
  • Anderton Charles H.


  • Carter John R.

    (Professor Emeritus, College of the Holy Cross, 1 College St., Worcester, MA 01610, USA)

We present a rational choice model depicting a regime’s incentive to allocate resources to fighting rebels and killing civilians when it perceives an internal threat to its political or territorial control. The model guides our empirical inquiry of risk factors for genocide onset. Based on logit methods applied to a pooled sample of 155 countries over the period 1955–2006, we find that key variables highlighted in the theoretical model elevate genocide risk. Specifically, measures of threat, anocratic Polity scores, new state status, and low income significantly increase genocide risk, which we interpret as consistent with weak state perspectives on mass atrocity. Moreover, the threat measures matter even after controlling for internal war and the anocracy result holds even after removing components of the Polity dataset that are “contaminated” with factional violence, including genocide. Extensions of the empirical analysis to a variety of alternative measures, variables, and estimators show the robustness of weak state risk factors for genocide.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy.

Volume (Year): 21 (2015)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 1-36

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:pepspp:v:21:y:2015:i:1:p:1-36:n:4
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Frank W. Wayman & Atsushi Tago, 2010. "Explaining the onset of mass killing, 1949-87," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(1), pages 3-13, January.
  2. Verpoorten Marijke, 2012. "The Intensity of the Rwandan Genocide: Measures from the Gacaca Records," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 18(1), pages 1-26, April.
  3. Kristine Eck & Lisa Hultman, 2007. "One-Sided Violence Against Civilians in War," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 44(2), pages 233-246, March.
  4. Beck, Nathaniel & Katz, Jonathan N., 2001. "Throwing Out the Baby with the Bath Water: A Comment on Green, Kim, and Yoon," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(02), pages 487-495, March.
  5. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
  6. JoseG. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2008. "Discrete Polarisation with an Application to the Determinants of Genocides," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(533), pages 1835-1865, November.
  7. James Raymond Vreeland, 2008. "The Effect of Political Regime on Civil War," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 52(3), pages 401-425, June.
  8. David Fielding & Anja Shortland, 2012. "The dynamics of terror during the Peruvian civil war," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 49(6), pages 847-862, November.
  9. Laia Balcells, 2008. "Rivalry and Revenge: Making Sense of Violence against Civilians in Conventional Civil Wars," HiCN Working Papers 51, Households in Conflict Network.
  10. Tom Bundervoet, 2009. "Livestock, Land and Political Power: The 1993 Killings in Burundi," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 46(3), pages 357-376, May.
  11. Reed M Wood & Jacob D Kathman & Stephen E Gent, 2012. "Armed intervention and civilian victimization in intrastate conflicts," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 49(5), pages 647-660, September.
  12. Carter, David B. & Signorino, Curtis S., 2010. "Back to the Future: Modeling Time Dependence in Binary Data," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(03), pages 271-292, June.
  13. William Easterly & Roberta Gatti & Sergio Kurlat, 2006. "Development, democracy, and mass killings," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 129-156, June.
  14. repec:cup:apsrev:v:107:y:2013:i:02:p:207-224_00 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. repec:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:03:p:681-690_09 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. repec:cup:apsrev:v:100:y:2006:i:03:p:429-447_06 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Philip Verwimp, 2003. "Testing the Double-Genocide Thesis for Central and Southern Rwanda," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 47(4), pages 423-442, August.
  18. Jacob D. Kathman & Reed M. Wood, 2011. "Managing Threat, Cost, and Incentive to Kill: The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Intervention in Mass Killings," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(5), pages 735-760, October.
  19. Francesca Grandi, 2013. "Why do the victors kill the vanquished? Explaining political violence in post-World War II Italy," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 50(5), pages 577-593, September.
  20. Reed M Wood, 2010. "Rebel capability and strategic violence against civilians," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(5), pages 601-614, September.
  21. Anderton Charles H., 2014. "Killing Civilians as an Inferior Input in a Rational Choice Model of Genocide and Mass Killing," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(2), pages 1-20, April.
  22. Omar Shahabudin McDoom, 2013. "Who killed in Rwanda’s genocide? Micro-space, social influence and individual participation in intergroup violence," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 50(4), pages 453-467, July.
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